The January transfer window can be (and has been for Newcastle United) an exciting time for football clubs. Dreams of what could be and story after story advancing rumors that exciting players are in negotiations with your club are like the most addictive of candies for the average football supporter. Take last year's January class for instance: Yoan Gouffran, Massadio Haidara, Moussa Sissoko, Mathieu Debuchy and Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa came into the club on the senior level and provided just enough spark to ensure that Newcastle evaded relegation least season. 3 of those 5 players are ever-presents on the team sheet for this current campaign so it can be a fruitful, fun time. Even the "ones that got away" continue to dance around in our minds - the club missed out on Loïc Rémy as they weren't willing to match the reportedly obscene wages that were offered by ultimately doomed QPR but he was never very far from our minds and ultimately became the lone (loan?) arrival in the summer window. There are others... Bafetimbi Gomis, for example, has been "in our frame" seemingly since he broke through to the senior level... ok, perhaps not that long ago... but it's been some time for sure.
It is truly fun to dream - although we as a group have been numbed to it all to a certain degree by a relatively chronic lack of strengthening in the squad unless the situation (as it was last January) is particularly dire. I for one am tuning out. There will be no arrivals on Tyneside this January. The club was expected to finish in the top 10 and should do so comfortably on the strength of a good first half of the season. As such, there is absolutely no motivation for the club to make any moves. We've punted both cup competitions, implied that we would just as soon not make the Europa League and are now looking at a 6-point deficit for the last Champions League spot... in short, the only real goal left on the table is that top-10 spot. This squad has shown that they have the quality to attain that goal and as such, the impetus to buy is very very small. The improvement and strengthening that would be required to gain the Champions League spots is surely beyond the scope of what Mike Ashley will be willing to spend. As a result, any moderate improvement only puts us in danger of the Europa League which is disadvantageous in scheduling and prize money.
There is only one scenario in which I expect to see a player or players come into the club this month. If the club get an Andy Carroll type offer (or even something approaching that) for Yohan Cabaye or for Hatem Ben Arfa... or if they give up on Papiss Cissé... any arrival is going to have to be coupled with an equal and opposite departure. We know that the club and Yohan Cabaye have their "Gentlemen's Agreement" that he will be allowed to move on in the summer window. We don't know if Hatem Ben Arfa has done enough to entice clubs to offer the price that Newcastle will likely be demanding for his services. Papiss Cissé feels like the likeliest to move, but at a cut-rate price that will likely stick in Mike Ashley's craw just enough to allow pride to kick in and scupper any potential move away from the club. . . consequently, I'm not dreaming. I'm barely listening to the rumors. The best we can expect is another £1 million youngster or two to come in to address holes in our academy and sit on the fringe of the bench or play in the reserves, which on the evidence of recent times does not fill me with excitement.
Are you optimistic that Newcastle will do any business in the January window? Let us know in the comments below!